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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by air_leech, Sep 5, 2008.
I was wondering - will a DI box between my bass and amp yield any intresting results?
Depends on the box. Some have preamps and eq controls, some don't.
Also, a DI box typically has two outputs: a balanced XLR jack that goes to the PA/mixer, and an unbalanced 1/4" "thru" jack that goes to your amp. Some DI's have a transformer or tubes for fattening/warming/etc. your signal, and the XLR output gets that effect; but on some DI's the 1/4" thru output does not pass through the tubes or transformer, it's just a direct connection to your dry bass signal.
So as RB said, it depends on the specific box.
ok then, will using the tube/jensen transformer signal into the amp's input offer any improvement in overall tone?
What do you consider an improvement in tone?
Again, it will depend on the specific box. Some tube and/or transformer devices are very linear and transparent, offering no audible coloration at all, or very little.
Even if you pick a tube/xformer DI that is known to color the signal in an "improved" way, the output is balanced. The only cheap/easy way to plug it into an unbalanced input (like on your amp) is to short one of the pins of the XLR plug. That will cut your signal level by about half, and you'll have to crank up your amp to make up for that, which usually results in a lot of extra noise.
If you want tube-type fattening, buy a tube preamp pedal (there are many different ones, I like DHA personally) or a tube-emulating pedal like the Sansamp VT Bass.
I was reffering to the smoothness and fatness applied to the overall tone when recording direct.
somehow I havent heard a rig that can duplicate this tone and I wondered if the DI box could be responsible for the difference.
Ah, OK- my subjective/interpretive answer is no, the DI box is not responsible in a way that would improve your rig. When you record direct, there is much less predetermined filtering of the sound than there is when playing through most bass rigs. Recording direct, you have to add tonal changes by the use of a fattening DI, compression, tape saturation, etc.; whereas with a live rig the amp and cab both filter the holy heck out of your sound unless you have invested in a super high-fidelity setup. So IMO a big part of what you're hearing on the recorded sound is actually more of your original bass tone. And I don't know what specific recorded tone you're listening to, but if it passed through the hands of an engineer then almost certainly some compression was applied as well.
As bongomania alluded to, if you're using a Jensen output transformer, it's only going to affect the XLR output. Tube DI's are usually different and will color both the XLR and the 1/4" thru send. And again, like bongomania said, it all has to do with the particular make and model.
For instance, my Demeter VTB-201s has tubes and the Jensen output txformer. In that unit, the 1/4" amp send does see the tubes but not the Jensen as the Jensen is only for the XLR recording out.
Alternately, my Radial Eng. JDI's 1/4" out is designed to be as close as possible to the input, with little or no tone change while only the XLR out has the Jensen txformer.
Every DI or preamp I've ever seen with an output txformer, Jensen or otherwise, is for the XLR out(s) only. Never have I seen one used on the 1/4" outs.
Some of the newer powered speakers ala Bergantino IP are very revealing as to the preamp/DI and will readily show differences. Through a typical rig, it's hard to tell the differences with DI boxes unless it's a big, wooly tube DI. You'd be better off tweaking your amp's settings than messing with the subtle differences in DI's.
when I run my P-bass with Dimarzio DP 122's straight into my Ampeg SVT III Pro I get a lot of noise and buzz, no matter the amp settings. When I put my Sansamp BDDI between the bass and the amp, with either the effects on the BDDI engaged or disengaged, no buzz. So even when it is used just as a DI box, the Sansamp seems to really help take a lot of buzz out of that bass signal. PS: The bass doesn't buzz when I use it with my Rock-It headphones practice toy.